The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has received another batch of 174 stranded Nigerians from Libya.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the returnees arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 1.10a.m. on Friday.
They were brought back in an Al Buraq Airlines Boeing 737-8000 aircraft with registration number 5A-DMG by the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, and the European Union, EU, under the Assisted Voluntary Return Programme.
The returnees were received by officials of NEMA and other government agencies including the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the Nigeria Police Force and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.
The Acting Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, South West Zonal Office, Segun Afolayan, said after profiling the returnees that they included 61 female adults, four female children and eight female infants.
Afolayan said there were also 91 male adults, six male children and four male infants, along with an unaccompanied male child, among the returnees.
He said the returnees included 10 families, three minor medical cases and three pregnant women.
Afolayan advised Nigerians to be wary of traffickers who lure them into perilous journeys with false messages of getting rich quick outside the country.
One of the returnees, 30-year-old Mr Chukwudi Onyemechie, from Anambra State, told newsmen that he was a successful auto tyres dealer at Ladipo Market, Lagos, before he was fooled by the promise of a better life in Europe.
Onyemechie said a man convinced him to travel to France via the Libya route and he eventually sold off his wares and proceeded to the Benin Republic where he began the unfortunate journey.
He said: ”I was told that the journey would be by road but I never knew that it was a deadly and dangerous route.
“I entered Libyan town where I was taken to a camp controlled by Nigerians where I spent three months in detention.
“My trafficker organised my detention in order that I would be forced to pay him money. He asked me to pay some amount to a connection man who denied that I didn’t pay. and my trafficker claimed he settled the man and I had to double the amount.
“I left Nigeria in June 2017. I experienced an unstable and dangerous life over there. After struggling to cross but unsuccessful, I was helped to get to IOM office in Libya, who helped me back to Nigeria today.”
Onyemechie advised Nigerian youths who were thinking of going to Europe through Libya to jettison such plan, stressing that it was better for them to make the journey in a regular manner and with adequate information.
Another returnee, Mrs Kikelomo Ajasa, a mother of one from Ibadan, Oyo State, said she left Nigeria in 2016 with the hope of getting a better job abroad, with the encouragement of her husband.
Ajasa, who holds a National Diploma in Hotel and Tourism, said she left Nigeria because of the various challenges that her family was facing.
She said:”I got to Libya with God as my saviour but the racial discrimination by the Libyans is too bad.
“If you’re unfortunate to enter bus and sit beside a Libyan, throughout the journey, the Libyan will not want your body to touch his own and he will cover his noise throughout.
“Though some of them are very nice and good, majority, especially the youths, don’t wish the blacks well.”
Ajasa said she got a housemaid job where she was being paid 6,000 Dinars, equivalent to about N60, 000.
“If I want to send N20,000 to Nigeria, I must part with N40,000 or N50,000 before my family will get the N20,000. There is no banking system there.
“Nigerians who had settled down are the launderers. They have their Nigerian bank accounts.
“Once, we pay them there in dinars, we don’t know how they transmit the money, but our families will receive what we agreed on their bank accounts here in Nigeria.
“I am not happy for the wasted years. If I had stayed back, I could have been more settled and successful,” Ajasa lamented.